If you prefer to skip to a specific section:
Section 2: Mental & Emotional Well-Being
2.1 – A Guide to Mastering Your Inner Dialog
2.2 – Positive Thinking for Wellness
2.3 – Finding Mental Strength in a Pandemic
2.4 – Practical BS-Free Positive Thinking
2.5 – Managing Stress: A Guide to Better Health
2.6 – 0-Level PTSD: A Post-COVID 19 Roadmap
2.7 – Physical Well-Being Take Away
Section 4: Social Well-Being
4.1 – Virtual Communication: The Essentials
4.2 – Virtual Communication: Handling Difficult Conversations Remotely
4.3 – Talking to Panicked Kids About COVID 19
4.4 – Practicing Virtual Acts-of-Kindness
4.5 – Social Well-Being Take Away
Appendix: Free Resources
6.1 – Health & Fitness
6.2 – Coping And Emotional Well-Being
6.3 – Stress Management
6.4 – Spirituality
6.5 – Free Business & Personal Software Tools
6.6 – Working Remote
6.7 – Kids
6.8 – Education
6.9 – Games & Entertainment
Section 1: Pandemic Physical Well-Being
A Step-by-Step Guide to Self-Soothing Through These Challenging Times
If life is a series of valleys and peaks, right now we’re riding a rollercoaster into the depths of the valleys.
We are low, at a global scale.
And, unlike what is common of lawyers never asking for help, we all need more guidance and support than ever.
The problem is:
We can’t seek our normal support system because everyone is in the same position. Everyone is stressed out, feeling vulnerable and at risk. However, there are plenty of at-home stress soothers you can try that will help get you through these hard times.
1. Focus On Your Control Circle
One of the most stressful aspects of this difficult time is the lack of control we feel. What you have to do to soothe yourself is focus on what you can control, rather than everything you can’t control. There are so many things beyond your control right now.
What you can control is your home. So, create a dirty zone and a clean zone. What does that mean?
The dirty zone should either be directly outside of your home or just inside it. It’s where you should remove your shoes and outwear and wash down your phone, wallet, purse, etc. before coming into your home. This will help limit the risk. You should also wipe down any packaging that you bring into your home, whether it’s food shopping or a takeout.
2. A Meditation, A Minute
You will find a lot of relaxation in meditation.
It’s a powerful practice that you should continue long after COVID 19 days behind us. For now, make it the first thing you do every morning (and do it throughout the day, too).
Close your eyes and breathe deeply, slowly inhale through your nose and hold it for a beat or two before you exhale it out of your mouth.
That’s a simple meditation to get you started and help relieve some stress your body is holding.
Here’s an illustrated guide:
3. Keep Moving
Don’t underestimate the value of exercise during these difficult days.
There are plenty of easy exercises you can do at home, from push-ups, sit-ups, jumping jacks, and beyond. However, there’s something fun about random dancing.
The beauty of this is that you can include the entire family. So, turn up some upbeat music and just have a dance party!
You get to release all of your stresses while listening to great music.
4. Breathe With Intention
If you pay attention to your breathing when you’re deeply stressed out, you’ll notice it’s rapid and shallow. You’re not breathing properly, it’s all in your chest. Guess what?
That will only perpetuate your stress levels.
So, be intentional with your breathing and take deep, slow breaths in your diaphragm. How can you tell if you’re doing it right? The best way is to keep a hand on your belly and the other on your chest.
Your rib cage and belly should expand with every inhalation of breath. Just be sure to exhale longer than you inhale.
5. A Grounding Exercise
Using your senses will help ground you and relieve stress almost instantly.
- Five things you can see
- Five things you can touch,
- Five things you can smell,
- Five things you can taste, and
- Five things you can hear.
Always remember, It’s all about bringing your focus back to this moment instead of stressing out about all the things you can’t control.
An additional note:
You may be tempted to indulge more or drink to excess. While you feel that this is providing you with stress relief, it’s making it worse. Relying on stimulants and depressants to soothe stress will never go in your favor.
Armed with this, you might wonder if there are other means to get into better physical wellness.
There is: boosting your immunity, and that is our next section.
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A Natural Path to Boosting Your Immunity
COVID 19 caught everyone off-guard and one thing is sure:
Nobody wants to be the next active case of coronavirus, so what can we do? Well, our immune system is the first line of defense against any virus. Boosting our immune system is the best way we can stay healthy.
There’s good news…
We don’t need fancy drugs or to venture into a Corona-infested hospital to boost our immune system. We can do so naturally with produce from our local grocery store and healthy living.
Here are natural methods of boosting immunity.
You’ve heard is before:
- Get plenty of sleep,
- Don’t drink too much,
- Get plenty of exercise, and
- Don’t smoke.
These normal bits of healthy living advice are key to boosting your immune system and for being happier. If you weren’t living healthy before, consider this an opportunity to start.
Exercise is still essential even with the gyms closed.
Preferably you can do your workout at home, or run outside. Exercise, so long as you don’t overdo it, is a great way to keep your body and mind sharp.
I regard an HITT workout as the best time-to-result way to get and remain in shape.
Here’s one of the best app to get you started:
If you’re feeling hard-core, here’s my favorite home workout routine, Shaun T’s Insanity MAX30.
Healthy habits are essential to any happy life. It’s never too late to start!
Disinfect Surfaces, Wash Your Hands
You’ve probably already heard that you should disinfect surfaces and wash your hands often.
Twenty seconds is the recommended hand washing time and be sure to run soap into a rich lather, rubbing each part of your hand thoroughly. These general hygiene tips have now become detrimental due to the onset of COVID 19.
Most pop-songs have twenty seconds chorus, sing the chorus of your favorite song as you wash — you are not alone; we are all washing our hands all the time now.
Eat Right (Boost Your Vitamins)
Get balanced meals (take it easy on the carbs).
Don’t forget to eat a variety of fruits and vegetables because they give your body important nutrients it can’t get elsewhere. Vitamin C is now more important than usual, too. Stock up on lemons, oranges, and even broccoli to keep your immune system at a good level of Vitamin C.
Produce will usually be available in stores because it goes bad. People cannot stock pile fruits and veggies the way they did with toilet paper. So, in your weekly or biweekly essential outing, stock up on fruits and vegetables.
Focus on fruits and veggies high in vitamin C such as broccoli, lemons, and oranges.
According to Stefanie Watson of WebMD.com, Studies suggest that Turmeric acts as an anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, anti-cancer, and antioxidant agent. A compound it contains called curcumin gets most of the credit for these benefits.
.Turmeric can definitely boost your immune system and it is worth nothing that India, a place that consumes lots of turmeric, has a fairly low infection rate.
Monitor Your Stress
Stress can negatively affect your immune system. Your muscles tense, which can cause strain, and the increased heart rate that comes with anxiety causing your body to overwork itself. Take a deep breath and practice relaxation. It can be lifesaving.
As I’ve recommended earlier, meditation, both guided and non-guided, can be a great way to monitor your stress levels. There are no wrong answers, though.
Listen to your favorite song, have one of your favorite drinks, or take a nap after lunch. Be kind to your mind and it will be kinder to your body.
With your being in shape, what does it take to be in the best mental and emotional state to practice at your best?
That will be the topic of our next section.
Section 2: Pandemic Mental & Emotional Well-Being
A Guide to Mastering Your Inner Dialog
Even before COVID 19, the world was increasingly focused on self-care and finding inner peace than ever before. Yet, it seems almost impossible to attain. The shift of our focus on these subjects shows our mindset today.
If you watch the news, check your social media or read the news, everything seems awful all the time. The world around you seems in chaos. No wonder you are having such a hard time managing your stress to find inner peace.
Is there an alternative?
You have no control over the world, but you control your internal dialogue.
Have you ever convinced yourself that all the good in your life happened by mere chance?
Did you ever stop to think perhaps you attract positive things when you think positively? It isn’t about chance, it’s about action. Your thoughts determine your actions, which shapes your life experience.
This leads us to:
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How to Shape Your Internal Dialogue
What is inner dialogue?
It’s the voice in your head, the one that narrates your life. It guides your actions, comments on the world around you, applies reasoning and logic or pushes you to overreact. Your internal dialogue influences the decisions you make, the opinions you form, what you believe, what you should do, how you should act, and so on.
This non-stop dialogue doesn’t just shape you; it shapes how you view the world. It runs on autopilot if you allow it to, but you can gain control over it.
In fact, if you don’t learn how to control it, you will struggle to relieve your stress levels and find inner peace.
The Link: Finding the “Why”
Think about this:
The muscle structure of your face allows you to smile when you feel happy. Just like the act of smiling alone can increase your happiness. Likewise, there is a link between feelings and thoughts.
If you feel down, it’s because you’ve been having negative thoughts. If you feel great, it’s because you’ve been having positive thoughts. This mostly unconscious internal dialogue is guiding you.
Yet, if you switch to manual, you can take control and make your thoughts conscious.
Let me ask you this:
Do you feel as though your emotions control you? Or, do you believe you have total control over them? You can probably point to both as being true. Sometimes it’s easier than other times.
When your emotions are in the driver’s seat, it’s your opportunity to tap in to gain an insight into why you allow your feelings to dominate your life. When you gain this self-awareness and pay attention to what your internal dialogue is saying, you can change it.
Grab & Control the Dialogue
Accept that your feelings influence your thoughts, and this influences your behavior.
It’s the only thing that you can control in this world and if you want to relieve stress and find inner peace, then you have to learn this control.
Don’t focus on negative or sad thoughts.
This will only fuel the behavior you’re trying to avoid.
If you allow it to continue, it can change your personality and shape your future in ways you don’t wish it to be shaped.
By realizing your internal dialogue and learning to correct it, you’re giving yourself a better chance to succeed. It’s something you will have to practice until it becomes your default setting.
Think about it as new operating software (like Windows or Mac), a software so big you have to delete some things before you can install it. That’s what taking control of your internal dialogue is.
Not that you’re not allowed to experience typically negative emotions. Rather, it’s about learning how to process them healthily and looking to the positives in every situation, so it doesn’t influence your internal dialogue.
It comes done to this:
When you feel your dialogue turning negative, start thinking the opposite and exaggerate that by ten.
Feel positive, influence your internal dialogue to be positive, and build your own world.
With our dialogues in a better place, how can you fine tune this process to deliver every time?
That’s for our next section.
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Positive Thinking for Mental & Emotional Wellness
I was on the fence on including this section.
We’re all tired of the “positive talk”. Often, it can seem naïve or irresponsible, especially when we really feel like things aren’t going well.
You should only use positive thinking to avoid stress from things that aren’t important or that we can’t change.
Let me explain.
Some stress is normal and healthy, but sometimes unhealthy stress comes from sweating the little things or worrying about things we have no power over. Stress from these sources is unproductive, and that’s the stress that you should try to do away with through positive thinking.
Control Weight and Blood Pressure
The famous Whitehall Studies found that chronic low-level stress correlates with physical issues, including unhealthy blood-pressure levels and excessive weight.
With the Whitehall studies, this stress was largely caused by dissatisfaction with one’s job. This is exactly the stress that positive thinking can help to do away with.
Since the Whitehall Studies, there have been several smaller and less publicized studies that have found that positive thinking, including positive reflection on performance or events, can reduce stress.
If stress causes problems with your physical health and positive thinking reduces stress, it makes sense to conclude that positive thinking can have positive impacts on your physical wellbeing.
They link one of the proposed reasons to lower weight is that the body produces hormones during times of stress that may lead to adverse health effects at high levels of long periods of time.
Boost Your Immune Health
A 2008 study published by the National Institute of Health similarly stated that stress hormones can negatively impact the immune system. The study further suggested that by limiting stress we can bolster the immune system to combat illnesses. The article specifically discussed the role of stress reduction in combating breast cancer in women.
A 2010 article published in the annals of Behavioral Medicine says that this “tyranny of positive thinking” can mislead and be irresponsible.
According to the article, there just isn’t enough research out there to say that staying optimistic can cure cancer or bolster the immune system like some have suggested.
How to Make Healthier Behaviors a Habit
The article, however, also pointed out that many of these perceived benefits of positive thinking can come from how people try to think positively or from some result of thinking positively.
Perhaps limiting stress doesn’t directly lead to healthier weights, perhaps we make smarter dietary choices when we are in a good mood. Perhaps positive thinking doesn’t directly improve our immune system, perhaps when we try are in a good mood, we spend more time with friends—which helps the immune system.
Whether health benefits just come from positive thinking or whether they are part of a more complicated cascade, they are certainly linked somehow.
Manage Depression (with professional help)
There is much debate regarding to what extent positive thinking can treat disorders like depression. One take is that actively engaging in positive thinking could combat depression, while the opposing line of thinking is that people who are depressed are necessarily outside of the influence of positive thinking.
One 2010 study published in Perspectives in Psychiatric Care found that cognitive-behavioral therapy can increase positive thinking and decrease negative thinking in patients with depression.
While positive thinking is likely not enough to combat depression on its own, this article suggests people with emotional disorders can learn that positive thinking may be one additional tool that can be used in the treatment of these disorders.
While there are resources online for learning to think positively, this study discussed patients who were seen by a licensed therapy professional. If you have or think you might have depression, talk to your doctor about what resources may be available to you.
Let’s face it, it can be challenging, especially when you feel you don’t have the strength to do this on your own. In the next section, we answer your question, finding the mental strength to follow through.
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Finding Mental Strength in a Pandemic
We are in the midst of the first global pandemic since 1918. The Spanish Flu (which is believed to have actually originated on a military base in Kansas) tore across the globe for two years, infecting a quarter of the world’s population and ending 50 million lives.
We have experienced nothing like this in our lifetimes. This is a scary time and in scary times, it’s vital that you look after your mental health, especially remaining mentally strong.
While everyone can agree (mostly) on the need for self-isolation and social distancing, it’s still a difficult pill to swallow. Humans are social creatures so, for those who are locked away at home, only allowed out for essential shopping, being away from other people is difficult. That lack of social contact will negatively influence your mental health, even if you’re an introvert.
Then, there is a lack of control and not knowing what will happen and how that influences your mental health. There isn’t just a single mental issue to focus on. You will want to stay informed about what is going on, especially in your own area, but you also have to protect yourself.
For most people, the only reason to leave home is to work if you’re essential or to purchase essential supplies. If you’re lucky, you will also be permitted out for one form of daily exercise. Even if you’re not living in a lockdown area, you will deal with the mental side of a pandemic.
Here are key strategies to maintain your mental stability:
The first strategy is to ensure you are only consuming information from reputable sources. False information is being spread all over the place. Not only will this put you at greater risk, but it also drums up more fear which will heavily influence your mental health.
You might not be able to socialize as normal, but you can still maintain your social ties. Besides using social media to keep in touch with friends and family, make use of video calls. If your mother normally comes over for dinner on Wednesday nights, then have a video call at dinner and enjoy it together. If you always meet your friend for coffee on Saturday afternoon, fire up a video chat and use the internet to your advantage. Why not dress up on Saturday night and enjoy cocktails with friends (over video chat). These are abnormal times, and your mental health needs you to think creatively.
Were there hobbies you didn’t have time for? Now is the time to get to work!
Get your knitting gear out from the back of the cupboard and tune up your guitar, this is your moment! We know from a variety of studies that making time for hobbies can help beat stress, which is the key to improving mental health.
You will feel vulnerable during this pandemic, it’s okay to feel that way. You will feel anxious, that’s okay, too. It’s especially scary if you have an existing mental health condition or people with underlying health issues that make them high-risk.
You might feel tempted to push these feelings away. Don’t give in to that temptation, acknowledge your feelings of anxiety and stress. The only way out is through.
Finally, certain habits will increase your risk during a pandemic, namely drinking alcohol and smoking. While the mantra of everything in moderation still stands, it’s important that you stick to it.
Often, stress sends us over the edge, and we indulge in bad habits more—don’t give in to this temptation. Don’t drink to excess or increase your smoking habit, or eat excessively, it will negatively impact your mental health and increase the risk of contracting the illness.
Being mentally strong means forcing yourself to do things you will otherwise not do, think extra positive. I know your skepticism, lots of crappy advice out there, in the next section, I show a practical, bullshit-free approach to positive thinking.
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Practical BS-Free Positive Thinking
No one is certain how bad COVID-19 will be; no one knows how long we need to stay home.
People have been laid off, ordered to stay home, cannot work, schools are closed and everyone’s wallet seems to be a little thinner.
The entire world is being affected, and no one is sure yet how or when this will all end and lives will return to normal.
So how can we maintain the positive thinking we’ve worked so hard to cultivate back when there wasn’t a crisis?
Making positive changes is hard enough when things are normal! Well, thankfully you have more time to read now. Here are 5 strategies to maintain positive thoughts during a crisis.
Don’t Ignore The Negative
Denying your feelings is never good.
When you do, they go wild trying to get your attention. Our feelings, like children when starved for our attention. Ignoring them only makes them try harder. You need a different approach.
Instead of shunning your negative feelings, accept them. Sit down with them and figure them out. Sometimes all you need to do is accept that you are feeling bad.
Make a New Routine, Especially If You Work From Home
We run on routine. If you take it away from us, we end up being stinky, big balls of anxiety. If your routine was an exercise, go to work, come home and dinner then you need to keep it going as best you can.
Start your day with an at-home exercise. Then shower and get ready for work like you usually would, even if you work at home. This will tell your brain that you are transitioning into work time. After work you can still have dinner.
Don’t Stop Practicing Self Care
You might not be able to continue your usual care routine, the favorite places might be closed, but that doesn’t mean you need to stop.
Meditation and yoga are very possible from home, and you’d better keep eating right. Self-care keeps your body and mind in shape, and you’ll need them strong.
So, take care of yourself the way you did before all this. You may need to find new creative ways to meditate now that your kids are home, but it is important that you take the time. If nothing else, it’s something to do.
Make Time to Think
If you have nothing but time to think, then you need to fill more of your time.
Time to think is like meditation, but it’s more like being your own therapist.
Consider your routine. Is it working? Are you happy? If not, why? Are you just stressed because we all have to stay home, and a disease is spreading? That’s reasonable, give yourself a break.
Keep Your Eyes On the Bigger Picture
They say what doesn’t kill you strengthen you. It’s cheesy, but there is actually scientific proof!
When times get hard, sometimes people come out stronger on the other side with a better appreciation for life. They build bridges that fix and strengthen relationships and learn skills that support a healthier life.
You will come out on the other side of this. When you do, going back to your favorite places will be a spiritual experience.
We’re in this together.
While you might this might work to put you in a great place, sometimes, there are just stressors hard to shake off.
We tackle this next.
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Managing Stress: A Guide to Better Health
We all have stresses in our lives, some more than others. But managing the stress, no matter how difficult or impossible it may seem, is essential to maintaining good health. Managing your stress is crucial to preserving your practice, friendships and relationships, ensuring you maintain good health, and can even help to improve your sleep.
Stress is a killer.
It poisons your mind and your body from the inside out, draining you of all your mental and physical energy as it takes control. Managing your stress by incorporating many de-stressing routines and minimizing and/or eliminating major stresses from your life can help you to improve your outlook and overall quality of life, and your health.
Stress Eats You, Slowly
Have you ever noticed that after particularly stressful days you feel three times as exhausted as you do at the end of a normal workday?
That’s because stress eats away at you and drains your energy.
Stress can cause indigestion and worsen other digestive conditions. It can cause and worsen heartburn and acid reflux. It can cause headaches and migraines, worsen inflammation, and increase other pains. There are many other health risks that excess and prolonged stress can cause.
Stress wears at your body both inside and outside, rendering you exhausted and useless, leaving behind a shell. It leaves you weak and irritable.
Not Managing Your Stress Can Kill You
Too much stress that isn’t dealt with can cause life-threatening conditions to crop up. Stress can cause heart attacks, strokes, and even aneurysms, all of which can kill you.
Unfortunately, you’re not guaranteed a warning for when your body has had enough. The heart attack, stroke, or an aneurysm caused by your stress very well might kill you. That’s why it’s so important that you manage your stress now before it’s too late.
It’s challenging to figure out how to manage your stress because each person’s routine will be different. What works to de-stress and minimize stress in one person can be different for another.
Stress Can Have Adverse Effects on Your Behavior, Your Practice and Relationships
Stress can affect your mood and behavior. It can make you angry, cranky, and short-tempered. It can cause you to lash out at those who are important to you and have little patience with others.
High levels of stress could also cause you to react poorly in high-stress or emergency situations. It can cause you to panic much sooner or act impulsively. Stress can also cause you to react poorly in situations where things don’t go your way. It can cause you to pitch a fit or panic at the sight of something not going according to plan or not going how you want.
This could have adverse effects on your relationships, be it friendships, or familial relationships. If you treat people poorly, they will not want to be around you. This could cause strain on your familial relationships, romantic relationships, and friendships. It could even destroy them.
How to Manage Your Stress
In order to effectively manage your stress, you have to first admit to it.
The next step is to identify your biggest stresses and come up with a plan to eliminate them.
Next, you need to determine what helps you to relax and de-stress. Coming up with a plan for relaxation to help lessen your stress is essential. This will help to prevent panic and floundering for a de-stressor.
Once you have both these plans in place, it’s time to get active in eliminating and minimizing your stress. Start delegating some of your responsibilities and saying no to too many obligations.
We all have stresses in our lives, but if we don’t work to manage, then we could be the ones to suffer because of it. Stress can affect every part of your body, your relationships, and your life.
It can ruin your relationships and friendships and cause trials at work. It can make you sick and even kill you. Managing your stress is essential to functioning properly and having an overall positive outlook on life.
What is sure is, when we’re past COVID-19, many of us will have post-COVID stress, it might be as critical as a PTSD — let’s examine what this is, and how to cope.
This will be for our next section.
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0-Level PTSD: A Post-COVID-19 Pandemic Roadmap
Anyone who has been through a stressful or traumatic event knows how serious the aftermath can be. The psychological shock alone makes returning to normal life difficult and sometimes unbearable. Yet it is normal and understandable and slowly, but surely, things calm down in a matter of weeks. Yet those whose symptoms persist for longer than a month – even years – are diagnosed as suffering from Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
PTSD is a condition that affects one’s mental health after experiencing one or more painful and highly traumatic events. These events can range from physical or sexual assault, natural disasters, loss of loved ones, serious accidents, combat, or many events that cause psychological and emotional shock.
While at first PTSD was attributed to soldiers coming out of combat, today experts know it can affect people who face many traumas. The current global pandemic we are facing can cause cases of PTSD increasing, for first responders, health care workers, survivors of the dead and all the people are at home unsure of when it will be under control — even you.
PTSD can also arise from indirect exposure, as with caregivers and first responders.
Close family members of those suffering from PTSD have been shown to display PTSD symptoms. They call this secondary PTSD and its warning signs are just as intense and acute as those who were present during the actual event.
The symptoms for PTSD can range from the mild to the severe, but they can be easily recognized.
Some of these include:
- Reliving the event in your mind through flashback or nightmares which can cause physical reactions, such as heart palpitations, sweating, nausea and insomnia.
- Denial. Sometimes people suffering from PTSD falsely believe things will get better if they avoid talking about what happened or acknowledging the fact that it took place.
- Increased irritability
- Anger outbursts
- Difficulty concentrating
- Increased anxiety and fear
- Nagging feelings of humiliation or guilt
- An increased sense of detachment, numbness and avoidance
Everyday occurrences may become mundane, and you feel resentment and anger towards them. It could be something as simple as parking your car or waiting in line at the supermarket – things you didn’t even pay attention to before have suddenly turned into difficult feats that cause you mental and emotional strain.
Luckily, there are several treatments which have proven to yield great results. They help provide an outlet for suppressed negative thoughts and emotions. They also help those suffering from PTSD regain control of their lives through the various mechanisms which allow them to cope successfully with their memories and the emotions they have attached to them.
Treatment methods can be one of therapy or a combination of them.
Here are a few examples:
- Medications to ease the symptoms (anti-anxiety, antidepressants, sleep enhancers, etc.)
- Psychotherapy helps provide a safe channel for PTSD sufferers to let go of their emotions and negative recollections which they had learned to repress and keep under wraps.
- Exposure therapy (including virtual reality exposure therapy) helps people come face-to-face with their trauma in a controlled, safe environment.
PTSD is a very real and can be quite a debilitating condition affecting your life quality, mental and emotional state and your relationships.
You do not have to live with the traumatic effects of PTSD. There are so many modern methods to deal with this issue, that you can get help and feel better and back in control.
Talk with your therapist and discuss the right treatment method for you. It is crucial that you feel secure and at ease with your therapist. Trust in your therapist is very important because without it, treatment won’t be successful.
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Mental & Emotional Well-Being Take Away
In this section, we’ve dealt with the challenge of mental and emotional well-being, strategies to keep yourself in order through this pandemic and there-after.
Key things to have in mind:
- Don’t ignore or bury how you feel, everyone is sharing this feeling too.
- Maintain mental agility.
- Seek help from specialist as needed.
In the next section, we move to consider what it takes to keep your spiritual well-being upright.
Section 3: Spiritual Well-Being
Finding Inner Peace and Serenity During A Pandemic
You might not realize it, but the noise of life is what’s standing between you and inner peace.
Life is so loud right now, but the noise in your heart and mind is drowning your hope of finding serenity. We’re always busy, doing as much as we can with what limited time we have.
We just don’t feel the same joy and contentment that seemed easy to find when we were kids. You can change that, though, meditation is an excellent way to find inner peace and serenity.
To make things easier, I’ve put together a simple step-by-step for getting started with meditation.
Using Meditation To Find Serenity
Before you start, find a quiet place to settle.
This should be somewhere you feel comfortable and now you will be undisturbed for five minutes. Now, find a comfortable sitting position, whether it’s on the floor or in a chair. You may also want to lie down, that’s up to you.
Take a few deep breaths to clear your mind and relax.
Your feet (or body) should be firmly planted on the ground, take this moment to feel the ground beneath you. Visualize yourself in a forest, standing between a leafy tree with big, strong branches. Take a deep breath and allow the clean air and smell of soil to flood your senses. Hear the wind as is rustles through the tree leaves above, feel it as it dances across your skin. Do you hear birds chirping or the distant sound of animals?
Visualize the physical attributes of the tree, its branches, and its leaves. Now visualize yourself reaching out to touch the bark, imaging the texture. Pay attention to the shade the tree is providing you with, protecting you from the harsh UV rays of the blistering sun. Appreciate the wood the tree provides, how it helps to clean the air and recognize its beauty.
The tree is a living organism, appreciate it. Visualize its complex root system as it drinks water and grows. The sun is shining and while the tree provides you with cooling shade, you can feel it on your skin, visualize yourself soaking up the light and being renewed, energized, and calmed by your environment.
As an Alternative…
Alternatively, you can use relaxing music to meditate to.
For this, use headphones as it will block out any outside noise more efficiently.
This is a simpler method of meditation. Breathe in deeply through your nostrils and count to two silently, exhale out your mouth and count to four silently. Repeat this process for five minutes.
If you’re looking for a song for relaxation, then you may want to give Weightless, by British band Marconi Union a chance. According to a study by Dr. David Lewis-Hodgson, this is the song considered the most relaxing in the world.
Interestingly, they produced the song with the British Academy of Sound Therapy. Experts find the songs so relaxing that they advise against driving whilst listening to it. That makes it the perfect choice for your meditation needs.
As it is just over 8 minutes long, you will find it’s ideal for meditation.
Here you go:
What benefits does meditation hold? Not only does it help you get comfortable with silence and stillness, but it’s also excellent for your physical and mental health. Think of it as push-ups for your brain.
It can help protect your cognitive health, relieve stress, and help ease the symptoms of anxiety and depression. It will also sharpen your focus, improve your mood, boost your immune system, and help you get a better night’s sleep. There is no downside to meditation.
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Spiritual Well-Being Take Away
Regardless of your religion, you will enjoy meditation, something you might already do anyway.
Keep these points in mind:
- There are practical benefits to meditation, especially for getting through tough times.
- You need not jump into meditation with both legs in.
- Start simple, stay consistent
So far, what we’ve been discussing had to do with yourself, how does all these translate when you have to deal with others.
This takes us to our next section.
Section 4: Social Well-Being: A Pandemic Guide
Virtual Communication: The Essentials
Stay home, stay few feet apart if you go out. These rules are harder for some than others, but we have to follow them if we want to have the lowest chance of catching or spreading The Corona Virus a.k.a COVID 19. We are humans, though, and humans still want to communicate and connect with each other.
This is the first time in human history that the internet has existed during a global pandemic. We can still communicate and sometimes work right from the comfort of our own homes!
What are the best ways to communicate remotely during the corona crisis?
While you might be familiar with some, here are key pointers:
Ongoing Group Chat
A great way to communicate remotely is a group chat. Slack, Teams, Telegram, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and even texting provides an environment where you and your colleagues or loved ones can talk to each other at any point in the day.
Group chats are great for collaboration, but it also might be a good idea to have a separate group chat that acts like the water cooler at work, or to keep up with friends. Over there you and your colleagues can bond and small talk. This will provide an outlet for everyone which is needed in these times.
Video Chat (Skype, Zoom, etc)
Video chat services are the obvious choice for conference calls. We all think of Skype when we think of video chats, but there are more options.
We’ve compiled the list of all the best video chat and conferencing solutions (most with fees waived).
I recommend staying with professional options — you want the highest quality of call and privacy for your clients.
Video chats are the closest thing we have to being in person. You can see someone’s face, hear their voice, and share files in real time. Video chats are great for big questions hard to explain in text and quick collaboration between professionals and at-home happy hours among friends.
Email, Good Old Email
Don’t neglect trusted emailing.
Sometimes it is the perfect venue for sharing documents, quick questions, and lengthy explanations. Older colleagues and loved ones will also feel most comfortable with email.
The best of all:
Emailing is also free!
You will need nothing but an internet connection (with minimal data usage) to exchange quality emails back and forth with your colleges, friend, and loved ones. So, don’t feel you need to start a video call if you could write a message and hit send.
According to Forbes.com, the best solutions are created when the big picture is known and understood by those assigned to solve the problem. To make this happen, you need to communicate and specifically no matter what message or video conference you choose.
Since you can no longer communicate face to face, speaking and writing is critical. You can lose more in translation over the distance between you and your colleagues, clients, loved ones, and friends.
Attempt to communicate well.
Plan, Plan, Plan!
Don’t forget to plan as usual, especially if you’re the boss or leader in a collaboration group of any kind. Set long- and short-term goals. Give people worded projects with achievable deadlines.
Check in with each other about progress often.
Planning is also even more important now that you have to deal with messages and conference calls. Some colleagues or loved ones may not know how to get technology working and you will have to teach them.
Others may be poor at communicating online and will need guidance. Don’t just plan what messenger and video chat apps to use.
Plan everything! Plan, plan, plan!
With this basics down, there’s now the difficult part. At some point, we will need to have difficult conversations and with this happening virtually, it might make thing trickier.
Let’s move on to discussing strategies on handling hard conversations.
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Virtual Communication: Handling Difficult Conversations Remotely
We have in our nature an inherent need to communicate our deepest feelings and thoughts with the people around us. In order to truly build and maintain meaningful relationships, we must have difficult conversations.
Here are ways to handle difficult conversations that will arise during these times..
Listen From A Place Of Understanding
When someone is trying to talk to you about a touchy subject, the last thing they want is to feel you are judging them during the conversation.
During difficult conversations, make sure that your verbal and nonverbal reactions in no way convey judgment.
Little things like raising your eyebrows, recoiling or especially gasping are all sure-fire ways to make the other person far less comfortable continuing the conversation. Similarly, replying with words or tones that come across as surprised or offended will cause the same reaction.
Validate The Persons Feelings
Whether the subject seems serious or important to you, it very well may to the other person.
Be sure not to disregard or belittle what someone else is expressing. Saying things like “oh, that’s not a big deal” or “I wouldn’t worry about that” are examples of downplaying another person’s concerns. Each of us are going through life from varying perspectives. What may be nothing of concern for you could very well be a source of anxiety and stress for someone else.
If someone trusts you enough to talk about difficult things going on in their life, the absolute WORST thing you can do is violate this trust. Unless what they have told you is something that could be an immediate threat to their health and safety, keep the conversation between the two of you.
As we all know, trust is so hard to build and very easy to destroy. All it takes is one instance of violating someone’s trust to cause lasting damage in a relationship.
Another common mistake people make in difficult conversations is replying with a similar situation or problem they have experienced and acting like it is the same thing. Even if what someone expresses to you sounds exactly like an issue you have been through, it is not.
As unique individuals, things affect each of us in different ways. By telling another person “I know exactly how you feel” or “I have been through the same thing”, you are taking some importance of what they are feeling away.
Nobody enjoys talking to a “one upper”, avoid being that person.
Remember to Follow Up
Chances are, if someone tells you about something important, the issue they are conveying has been going on for quite some time and will probably be a lasting predicament.
Therefore, checking up on them and asking about how the issue is progressing is critical.
Feeling as if you are going through a difficult situation alone is a horrible place to be. By bringing up the issue even after the initial conversation, you are letting the other person know that you have been thinking about them and are genuinely concerned about their well being.
A key aspect of any meaningful relationship is the ability to have difficult conversations.
Think about these strategies the next time someone opens up to you.
Now, on to a specific difficult conversation to have during this crisis — talking to kids.
We tackle this next.
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Talking to Panicked Kids About COVID 19
On a global scale, we’re amid a serious medical situation. The coronavirus has single-handedly disrupted almost every aspect of life for the time being.
It has forced firms to close their doors, the worldwide economy is suffering and individuals are living in a state of fear and uncertainty.
While we’re all affected by this pandemic, if you have kids, discuss the impact.
Adults influence children in their lives; therefore, it is of the utmost importance that we take caution in how we are relay this information to them.
In this section, I will share a few key points regarding effective communication to the children experiencing the effects of the coronavirus. It is important to remember that, like the adults, even though a child may not be physically infected with this illness, the psychological ramifications are all too real.
Much like any other major change in a child’s way of life, most of the fear lies in the unknown.
Considering that children are much less able to use the web, news outlets or reliable health information regarding the current pandemic, they are more susceptible to being left in the dark about what is going on. When you are talking with your children about this issue, present the topic in a factual way that simplifies the subject.
While there is probably not much benefit in detailing the exact mechanism behind the coronavirus, filling them on the basics can go a long way. The worst thing you can do is lie to them and downplay the notion that there is a health crisis at hand.
Your children are probably more intuitive than you think, no doubt noticing the state of anxiety and fear of people all around them. Telling them nothing is wrong will only add to the confusion as they are told contradicting information everywhere else.
Explain Practical Precautions
Besides the fear of the unknown, not knowing how to do anything about it is the second biggest source of fear with a situation like the coronavirus.
After you’ve allowed your child to understand the issue, talk them through the important steps to remain as safe as possible.
This information need not be creative or unique. Talk them through the same steps that you are taking yourself. Basic concepts of hand washing, avoiding large groups of people and limiting exposure to sources of the virus are all things that can a child can understand.
To clarify the importance of these precautions, explain to them the general ways the virus can spread from person to person.
Set An Example
Aside from the current pandemic, children look to adults when deciding how to react to a situation.
Make sure you set the right example pertaining to how you deal with this situation. It does little good to explain to a child how to protect themselves from the coronavirus and how they should feel about the issue if they observe you doing the complete opposite.
Although we are in a relatively uncertain and worrisome time period, never forget that the younger population is looking to you for guidance. Be sure you are leading by example, not only regarding the topic at hand, but in general.
It is up to you to stay informed on the latest news and precautions to take during this situation and relay it to your children through not only the things you say, but by the actions you take.
We’ve covered a lot, the most important remains, during these trying times, let’s be kind to ourselves — even virtually.
We dive into that in the next section.
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Practicing Virtual Acts-of-Kindness through a Pandemic
Coronavirus has us all quarantined. Morale is low.
With the number of cases of the virus rapidly increasing, there’s an even larger population of people in need.
If you’re one of the lucky ones and not affected by COVID-19, showing kindness to others in such trying times can help others, but can also help you deal with the crisis yourself.
We will go over how showing kindness can help you in the long run!
Coping with Crisis
Even if you’re not affected by the virus, there’s still a great likelihood that you’re a little fearful or anxious. As the anxiety and stress build, you’ll notice that your mental and emotional health might take a turn for the worse.
Rather than letting the stress and anxiety consume your life, this is the perfect time to give back to those who truly need it. You’ll definitely feel good about yourself and others will appreciate your help!
When you give back to the community and those who truly need it, you’ll feel good about yourself. But, your ability to see what others are going through will help remain empathetic can also boost your levels of gratitude.
So, what exactly is gratitude?
Gratitude is your general appreciation for something that you have, or something that you’ve experienced. In trying times like this, you might be grateful for having loved ones, a pantry stocked full of food, and being healthy!
By giving back to others, you’ll be improving the quality of life for other people while also being able to remain thankful for what you do still have. You might be confined to your home for the next two weeks, but you’re in a much better situation than others might be.
The Release of Endorphins, “Happy Feelings”
When you do something that you enjoy doing, the body releases its own endorphins. With more endorphins, also known as the feel-good hormones, running through your body, your mood increases.
There appears to be some scientific evidence that acts of kindness encourage the release of endorphins within the body. So, not only will you be able to help those in need, but you’ll be much happier and less stressed.
How You Can Show Kindness
Being quarantined makes it a little more difficult to spread kindness and help others, but there are still some things you can do.
Here are some suggestions for how you can spread kindness as COVID-19 runs rampant.
- Buy and deliver food for those stuck at home
- Offer protective gear to those who are immunocompromised or elderly
- Donate money to charities
- Spend time with those you care about (from a distance – phone calls, text messages, video chats, etc.)
It’s all about spreading happiness and boosting the morale of those around you.
Though you might have stress and anxiety of your own because of the virus, making others happy will improve your mood and make you happier.
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Social Well-Being Take Away
We are social beings and being social is a key factor in our overall wellness. Here are key points in these sections:
- Get good at your virtual communication. It will be critical even post—COVID 19.
- If you have kids, don’t shy away from talking to them about it.
- Kindness brings you happiness, even if virtual, continue practicing it.
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We’ve covered how to maintain your physical, mental, emotional, spiritual and social well-being. As a practicing lawyer, you need all these working in unity to deliver your clients top-notch results.
Even if you haven’t been diagnosed with the Coronavirus yourself, it’s still reasonable to be fearful and anxious as the virus continues to spread. But there’s nothing that says you have to sit around panicking at home.
Getting physical, maintaining old and forming new connections, engaging in spiritual practices, giving back to others and showing kindness can help you cope with the panic while also helping those who really need it.
With greater feelings of gratitude and a release of endorphins, you’ll feel better about yourself and less stressed!
A toast to your health, 🥂
Appendix: Free Resources
Health & Fitness
American Council on Exercise–Online Fitness Library—free online exercise resource that offers detailed pictures and instructions relating to strength training exercises
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Coping And Emotional Well-Being
Hello Sunday Morning—The largest online community for alcohol behavior change in the world
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Mood Lifters – An evidence-based, peer-facilitated emotional health program that emphasizes skills and social support to alleviate distress and enhance positive emotions.
StayWell offers a variety of programs to help support mental and emotional well-being, including 21 Day Meditation, Sleep Well, Stress Less Self-Directed Coaching and more.
Headspace – Smartphone app for mindfulness, emotional health, physical health, and sleep exercises
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- Vatican News YouTube Channel – Online Mass
- The Muslim Council of Britain – GUIDANCE FOR MOSQUES/MADRASAS AND UMRAH PILGRIMS
- 24/7 Prayer and Worship @ IHOPKC
- [email protected] – Free online guided meditation
- Live Online Practice Sessions — free series of live-stream meditations to help ease anxiety amid our social-distancing efforts
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Free Business & Personal Software Tools
- Animation Domination Zoom Backgrounds
- Discourse – 3 Months free for schools
- Ericom AccessNow – 6 Months Free
- Microsoft Teams – Free 6 Months
- Mindhive – Free Premium+
- Reaper – Free License until June 2020
- Microsoft Teams – Free
- TechSmith – SnagIt, VideoReview free until end of June
- Webex is Free
- Zoom – Free for K-12 Schools
- Google Meet — Free Google Services for Classrooms and businesses
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Remote Playbook — from the largest remote company in the world, Gitlab
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- Khan Academy
- Gamilab – create and share online educational games
- Minecraft: Educational Edition – Free Until June
- The Kids Should See This
- Amazing Educational Resources — All Resources free due to kids closure
- Make Code Online Learning Resources
- Scholastic Learning at Home
- Audible Stories
- TIME for Kids Launches Free Digital Library
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- Free Ivy League Courses
- EdStep – create and share online courses
- Pluralsight – Free April
- Free LinkedIn Courses for Covid-19 — Optimize working remotely, whether you’re new to remote work or not, and whether you’re leading a team or part of a team involving distributed team members. Discover how to be productive and stay connected when working from home or other remote environments.
- 2 Months of Free Kindle Unlimited
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Games & Entertainment
- Frozen 2 Early Release
- Grand Ole Opry – Saturday Night Radio
- Libby – Free Library Access
- How to try streaming services for free during coronavirus
- 15 Broadway Plays and Musicals You Can Watch On Stage From Home
- Seattle Symphony Free Broadcasts
- Netflix Party
- Nightly Met Opera Streams
- Metalocalypse – All episodes streaming for free
- Board Game Arena
- MTG Arena
- Steam Free to Play
- Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden Facebook Live
- Virtual Guide to the Great Wall of China